Sofia Goggia, Olympic downhill champion, breaks fingers in World Cup race

Sofia Goggia
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ST. MORITZ, Switzerland — It was a bittersweet day for the Italian ski team when Elena Curtoni and Sofia Goggia finished 1-2 in a World Cup downhill held in difficult conditions Friday but Goggia came away with two broken fingers in her left hand.

Goggia, the top downhiller on the circuit, hit her hand on the third gate of the Corviglia course.

Goggia, who won gold and silver in downhill at the last two Olympics, respectively, immediately knew something was wrong and took her glove off in the finish area before having her hand wrapped up.

Video is here.

The Italian team said Goggia broke her index and middle fingers and was being transported to Milan for immediate surgery with the aim of getting her back to St. Moritz by evening to race in another downhill scheduled for Saturday.

“I felt immediately after the impact that something had happened to the hand,” Goggia said. “At the finish I could hardly move it. It’s too bad, because it was a great race. I’ll do everything I can to be ready for Saturday’s downhill.”

It was a similar scenario to when Curtoni won her previous race in Cortina d’Ampezzo last season and Goggia crashed two weeks before the Beijing Olympics, injuring a ligament in her left knee and sustaining a light fracture in that leg. Goggia still managed to come back in time to to win a silver medal at the games.

“It’s too bad, because it would be great to share the celebration and anthem with her,” Curtoni said. “It seems like a curse when I win that something happens to her. I’m not doing it on purpose, I swear.”

Curtoni was the second starter and took advantage of better conditions in her run to edge Goggia by 0.29 seconds on a course that was shortened due to overnight snowfall.

The race was interrupted immediately before Goggia was due to start with the No. 10 bib after a course worker fell and had to be helped off the piste — prompting a delay of more than five minutes.

The delay meant that the ongoing snowfall covered up the racing line, while fog also moved in over the middle of the course.

Still, Goggia — who had won the opening two downhills of the season — was the only racer who came close to challenging Curtoni.

Reigning Olympic champion Corinne Suter of Switzerland finished third on home snow, 0.73 behind, and was the only racer to join Curtoni during the podium festivities with Goggia already headed away for medical exams.

Americans Breezy Johnson and Mikaela Shiffrin finished fifth and sixth, respectively.

Shiffrin, the overall World Cup leader, was racing the downhill in St. Moritz for the first time.

“That was my top form for today so I’m very happy with that,” Shiffrin said. “I felt like I didn’t risk something.”

It was the third career win for Curtoni, who finished fifth in the Beijing Olympics downhill last season.

Curtoni, who grew up in an area of northern Italy just across the border, achieved the first podium result of her career by placing third in a downhill at St. Moritz in 2016. She also finished second in a super-G in St. Moritz last season. So now three of her nine career podium results have come at the Swiss resort.

“I really like it here,” Curtoni said. “My original home is right behind this mountain.”

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Birk Irving, last man on Olympic team, extends breakout season with Mammoth win

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One year ago, Birk Irving was the last man to make the four-man U.S. Olympic ski halfpipe team. Since, he continued to climb the ranks in arguably the nation’s strongest discipline across skiing and snowboarding.

Irving earned his second World Cup win this season, taking the U.S. Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain, California, on Friday.

Irving posted a 94-point final run, edging Canadian Brendan Mackay by one point. David Wise, the two-time Olympic champion who won his fifth X Games Aspen title last Sunday, was third.

A tribute was held to 2015 World champion Kyle Smaine, a U.S. halfpipe skier who died in an avalanche in Japan last Sunday.

“We’re all skiing the best we have because we’re all skiing with Kyle in our hearts,” Irving said, according to U.S. Ski and Snowboard. “We’re skiing for him, and we know he’s looking down on us. We miss you Kyle. We love you. Thank you for keeping us safe in the pipe today.”

Irving also won the U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain, Colorado, on Dec. 17. Plus, the 23-year-old from Colorado had his best career X Games Aspen finish last Sunday, taking second.

The next major event is the world championships in Georgia (the country, not the state) in early March. Irving was third at the last worlds in 2021, then fifth at the Olympics last February.

The U.S. has been the strongest nation in men’s ski halfpipe since it debuted at the Olympics in 2014. Wise won the first two gold medals. Alex Ferreira won silver and bronze at the last two Olympics. Aaron Blunck is a world champion and X Games champion.

Irving is younger than all of them and has beaten all of them at multiple competitions this season.

New Zealand’s Nico Porteous, the reigning Olympic gold medalist, hasn’t competed since the Games after undergoing offseason knee surgery.

In snowboarding events at Mammoth, Americans Julia Marino and Lyon Farrell earned slopestyle wins by posting the top qualification scores. The finals were canceled due to wind.

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Shaunae Miller-Uibo, Olympic 400m champion, announces pregnancy

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Bahamian Shaunae Miller-Uibo, the two-time reigning Olympic 400m champion, announced she is pregnant with her first child.

“New Year, New Blessing,” she posted on social media with husband Maicel Uibo, the 2019 World Championships silver medalist in the decathlon for Estonia. “We can’t wait to meet our little bundle of joy.”

Miller-Uibo, 28, followed her repeat Olympic title in Tokyo by winning her first world indoor and outdoor titles last year.

Also last year, Miller-Uibo said she planned to drop the 400m and focus on the 200m going into the 2024 Paris Games rather than possibly bid to become the first woman to win the same individual Olympic running event three times.

She has plenty of experience in the 200m, making her world championships debut in that event in 2013 and placing fourth. She earned 200m bronze at the 2017 Worlds, was the world’s fastest woman in the event in 2019 and petitioned for a Tokyo Olympic schedule change to make a 200m-400m double easier. The petition was unsuccessful.

She did both races anyway, finishing last in the 200m final, 1.7 seconds behind the penultimate finisher on the same day of the 400m first round.

She did not race the 200m at last July’s worlds, where the 200m and 400m overlapped.

Notable moms to win individual Olympic sprint titles include American Wilma Rudolph, who swept the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at the 1960 Rome Olympics two years after having daughter Yolanda.

And Dutchwoman Fanny Blankers-Koen, who won four gold medals at the 1948 London Olympics, when the mother of two also held world records in the high jump and long jump, two events in which she didn’t compete at those Games.

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